The Pons family started making sturdy sandals in 1945, fashioning the soles from recycled tires and uppers made from soft leather. The shoes were worn primarily by farmers, but the simple style still resonates three generations later.
Today, only the eCo Classic line is still made from recycled tires, but much of the production remains the same. Other styles have soles fashioned from a lightweight rubber, sourced from Spain. The shoes are largely handcrafted, with a little help from sewing and milling machines. All of the leather is still sourced from Spain also, much of it right from Menorca itself.
You can see for yourself how the shoes are made in this little video:
“It’s a very natural style,” said Noelia Pahissa, co-founder of the Avarcas USA label, which distributes Pons Avarcas in the United States. Pahissa wore Avarcas growing up in Barcelona, and moved to San Diego with her husband in 2004. There, she discovered a demand for a traditionally crafted sandal.
For our readers in the Americas, shipping across the Atlantic definitely adds the carbon footprint of your sandals. On the other hand, this family business offers a level of transparency comparable to a Fair Trade product.
Pahissa says that Avarcas appeal to people who care about where their clothing comes from, want to know the backstory of their products and prefer simple designs. She sometimes spots a pair of the sandals at the farmer’s market, adding “I like this kind of person.”
Perhaps a marker of the style’s success is that a number of fast fashion brands have knocked off the look (ahem Urban Outfitters). So, the local government created the Menorca has “Avarca de Menorca” seal. You can think of it like a proof of origin.
These shoes have been cool for the better part of a century. I don’t think this style will look dated anytime soon, so Pons Avarcas gets TreeHugger points for being classics.